Mobility

Q1) How many vehicles are there in Great Britain?

Q2) Which is the fastest growing category of vehicle?

Q3) What is the most common car in Great Britain?

Q4) How many privately registered cars have a female registered keeper?

Q5) How often is a car in use or parked?

Q6) Where are household vehicles parked overnight?

Q7) How old is the average car?

Q8) In the average car's lifetime, how many owners will it have?

Q9) What proportion do company cars comprise of the licensed car stock?

Q10) How many new cars were registered in the UK in 2018?

Q11) How many new cars registered in 2018 were sold to businesses, fleets and private buyers?

Q12) How many used cars changed hands in 2018?

Q13) How many cars were manufactured in the UK in 2018?

Q14) How many driving licence holders are there?

Q15) What proportion of young adults (aged 17 - 20) in England hold a full driving licence?

Q16) What proportion of older people in England hold a full driving licence?

Q17) How many people aged 70 or over in Great Britain hold a full driving licence?

Q18) How many jobs require the applicant to be able to drive?

Q19) How many households in England have access to a car or van?

Q20) How many adults in England live in a household with access to a car or van?

Q21) Which local authorities in England and Wales have the highest and lowest number of cars and vans per head of population?

Q22) How important is the car as a mode of transport?

Q23) How many people commute to work by car?

Q24) What is the average annual mileage per car in England?

Q25) How many miles per year does motor vehicle traffic travel on the roads of Great Britain?

Q26) What are the road traffic forecasts for future years?

Q27) What improvements are planned to the Strategic Road Network?

Q28) How many miles of road are there in Great Britain?

Q29) What are the road lengths in England, Scotland and Wales?

Q30) How much of the British road network has no mobile phone coverage?

Q31) What type of roads does traffic travel on?

Q32) What are smart motorways?

Q33) What type of vehicles use the roads in Great Britain?

Q34) What percentage of HGVs "drive around empty"?

Q35) How busy are the roads in Great Britain?

Q36) Which road has the highest average traffic flow?

Q37) Which local authorities have the highest traffic levels?

Q38) Which of England's major A roads have the highest seasonal increase in traffic?

Q39) What are average vehicle speeds?

Q40) How many foreign registered vehicles use the roads in Great Britain?

Q41) Who manages the roads?

Q42) What is the total amount of compensation paid by local authorities for damage to persons or vehicles as a result of poor road conditions?

Q43) How many potholes were filled in over the last year and what was the cost of filling these potholes in?

Q44) How can I report a pothole to a local authority?

Q45) What percentage of local authority roads are considered to be in a poor structural condition?

Q46) How many bridges in Great Britain are substandard?

Q47) What is the Blue Badge Scheme?

Q48) How many Blue Badges are on issue in England?

Q49) How many Blue Badges were stolen in England in 2017/18?



Q1) How many vehicles are there in Great Britain?

A1) At the end of December 2018, there were 38.2 million vehicles licensed for use on the roads in Great Britain.

Cars make up the majority of these licensed vehicles. There were 31.5 million cars (82.5 per cent), 4.0 million LGVs (10.5 per cent), 0.5 million HGVs (1.3 per cent), 1.2 million motorcycles (3.3 per cent) and 0.9 million other vehicles (2.4 per cent) licensed at the end of 2018.

All body types apart from buses & coaches saw an increase since 2017. The largest percentage increase was for LGVs at 2.9 per cent, followed by cars at 1.0 per cent, motorcycles at 0.7 per cent and HGVs at 0.2 per cent. Buses & coaches fell by 2.2 per cent, which is in line with the decline in new registrations.

The total number of licensed vehicles has increased in practically every year since the end of the Second World War. From 1997 to 2007, the annual growth in licensed vehicles averaged 670 thousand per year, although from the mid-2000s it begun to slow somewhat. Following the recession of 2008-9, growth slowed further but did not stop, averaging 170 thousand per year between 2007 and 2012. Since 2012, the average growth has been 610 thousand per year, but has  slowed in recent years with the reduction of new registrations.

Source: Vehicle Licensing Statistics: Annual 2018

Historical details about the number of licensed vehicles can be viewed in table VEH0101.

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Q2) Which is the fastest growing category of vehicle?

A2) Vans.

The number of vans on Britain’s roads has been rising more than 2.5 times quicker than cars. Every tenth vehicle on the road is now a light commercial vehicle (LCV).

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of vans increased by 29 per cent to 3.3 million. Over the same period the number of cars rose by 11 per cent to 28.7 million whilst the number of lorries (Heavy Goods Vehicles or HGVs) on British roads fell by 5 per cent to 460,000.

Source: Van Travel Trends in Great Britain

This trend has continued in recent years. In 2017, total van mileage was 67 per cent higher than 20 years ago. Alongside this 67 per cent increase in van miles between 1997 and 2017, the number of licensed vans rose 75 per cent over the same period, from 2.2 to 3.9 million.

The rapid rise in van traffic over the last twenty years means that van traffic now makes up around 15 per cent of total traffic, compared to 9 per cent in 1997. Van traffic grew 2.7 per cent between 2016 and 2017 to reach a record high of 50.5 billion vehicle miles; the fastest growth in percentage terms of any motor vehicle type.

Source: Road Traffic Estimates: Great Britain 2017

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Q3) What is the most common car in Great Britain?

A3) At the end of December 2018, there were 1.5 million Ford Fiesta cars licenced, followed by the Ford Focus with 1.3 million and the Vauxhall Corsa with 1.1 million.

Source: Vehicle Licensing Statistics: Annual 2018

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Q4) How many privately registered cars have a female registered keeper?

A4) At the end of December 2018, about 35 per cent of privately registered cars were registered with a female keeper, compared to 30 per cent in 1998.

The number of female registered keepers of cars has increased by 58 per cent since 1998, compared with an increase of only 21 per cent in male keepers.

Source: Vehicle Licensing Statistics: Annual 2018

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Q5) How often is a car in use or parked?

A5) The average car spends about 80% of the time parked at home, is parked elsewhere for about 16% of the time and is thus only actually in use (ie moving) for the remaining 4% of the time.

Source: Spaced Out: Perspectives on Parking Policy

The RAC Foundation has also produced a Fact Sheet entitled Facts on Parking which contains a wealth of information on parking related matters.

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Q6) Where are household vehicles parked overnight?

A6) In England in 2016 (the latest year for which figures are available), 11 per cent of household vehicles were parked in a garage overnight; 60 per cent were parked on private property (but not garaged); 25 per cent were parked on the street; and 3 per cent were parked in other places.

The proportion of household vehicles parked overnight on private property but not garaged was highest in rural areas (71 per cent) and generally declined as settlement size increased, down to 51 per cent in urban conurbations.

Source: National Travel Survey: England 2017 and Table NTS0908

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Q7) How old is the average car?

A7) 7.8 years.

Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – Motor Industry Facts 2018

DfT figures show that in 2018, petrol cars were generally older, with an average age of 9.1 years, compared with 6.9 years for diesel cars.

Source: Vehicle Licensing Statistics: Annual 2018

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Q8) In the average car's lifetime, how many owners will it have?

A8) In the average car’s lifetime, it will have 4 owners.

Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – Motorparc Census

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Q9) What proportion do company cars comprise of the licensed car stock?

A9) The commercial fleet and company car market is a primary driver of new registrations for cars. In 2018, 57.3 per cent of all car first registrations were made by companies. However, the proportion of company registered cars in the whole of the licensed car stock was much lower, at only 8.8 per cent. This indicates that cars move quickly from the company market to the private market.

The percentage of company registered cars in the fleet in 2018 was slightly lower than the recent peak of 9.0 per cent in 2016, but has remained relatively stable around 8 – 9 per cent since 2002.

Source: Vehicle Licensing Statistics: Annual 2018

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Q10) How many new cars were registered in the UK in 2018?

A10) The UK new car market declined by 6.8 per cent in 2018, with annual registrations falling for a second year in a row to 2,367,147 units (as compared to 2,540,617 new cars registered in 2017).

Private, fleet and business registrations all fell in 2018, with the biggest losses felt in the fleet sector (down 7.3 per cent), while private motorists and smaller business operators registered 6.4 per cent and 5.6 per cent fewer new cars respectively.

Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – New Car Registrations

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Q11) How many new cars registered in 2018 were sold to businesses, fleets and private buyers?

A11) In 2018:-

  • 92,096 cars were sold to businesses (companies that operate up to 24 vehicles) – a fall of 5.6 per cent from 97,564 in 2017;
  • 1,222,849 cars were sold to fleets (companies that operate fleets of 25 or more vehicles) – a fall of 7.3 per cent from 1,319,193 in 2017; and
  • 1,052,202 cars were sold to private buyers – a fall of 6.4 per cent from 1,123,860 in 2017.

Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – New Car Registrations

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Q12) How many used cars changed hands in 2018?

A12) 7,945,040 used cars changed hands in 2018. This was a 2.1 per cent dip compared to the previous year (167,980 sales lower than in 2017) but was still the third highest year on records going back to 2001.

Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – Used Car Sales Data

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Q13) How many cars were manufactured in the UK in 2018?

A13) 1,519,440 cars were manufactured in the UK in 2018, a decline of 9.1 per cent on the previous year when 1,671,166 cars were manufactured.

Output for the UK and overseas markets fell 16.3 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively, with 8 in 10 cars exported.

Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – UK Automotive Manufacturing

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Q14) How many driving licence holders are there?

A14) In November 2018, the total number of driving licences registered with DVLA was 48,795,601. Of these, 40,615,408 were Full Driving Entitlement Licences and 8,180,193 were Provisional Entitlement Licences. These figures are for the whole of Great Britain.

It should be stressed that neither DVLA or DfT would recommend that users rely on this data being a true reflection of the number of active driving licence holders in Great Britain as the DVLA data includes details of people who have died, emigrated etc and who have not been removed from the DVLA database.

Source: Driving Licence Data

More robust estimates of active driving licence holders are available from the National Travel Survey. Latest estimates show that 74 per cent of all adults aged 17 and over in England (an estimated 32.9 million people) held a full car driving licence in 2017. In 1975/76, the proportion of adults with a licence in England was 48 per cent (an estimated 19.4 million people).

Of the 32.9 million people holding a full car driving licence in England, 17.3 million are men and 15.6 million women. Whilst, over the long term, licence holding among both men and women has increased, the rate of increase has been much greater for women. In 1975/76, 69 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women had a driving licence. In 2017, 80 per cent of men and 69 per cent of women had a licence.

Source: National Travel Survey: England 2017 and Table NTS0201

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Q15) What proportion of young adults (aged 17 - 20) in England hold a full driving licence?

A15) The proportion of young adults (aged 17 -20) in England with a full driving licence has decreased since the early 1990s when driving licence holding for this age group was at its highest. However, the level does fluctuate year-on-year. In 1995/97, 44 per cent of those aged 17 – 20 held a full licence, compared with a low of 27 per cent in 2004. In 2017, 30 per cent of those aged 17 – 20 held a full licence.

In 2017, 29 per cent of young men held a full driving licence – down from 33 per cent in 2016. The number of young women with a full driving licence rose to 30 per cent from 29 per cent in 2016.

Research published by DfT on young people’s travel looked to explain the reasons for a decline in the proportion of young people with a driving licence. Evidence suggests that a rise in motoring costs have discouraged young people from learning; the driving test has become more difficult; and there is some evidence of changes in the values and attitudes of young people – surveys and interviews have shown that many young people now accept not driving with around 8per cent of 17-20 year olds saying they would “never” be interested in learning to drive.

Source: National Travel Survey: England 2017 and Table NTS0201

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Q16) What proportion of older people in England hold a full driving licence?

A16) There has been a large increase in the number of older people in England holding a full driving licence. Between 1995/1997 and 2017 the proportion of people aged 70+ holding a licence increased from 39 per cent to 64 per cent. This is due to aging of existing licence holders rather than large numbers of newly qualified drivers in older age groups.

The increase among older women is particularly notable: 75 per cent of women aged 60-69 and 50 per cent aged 70+ held a licence in 2017 compared with 46 per cent and 22 per cent in 1995/97 respectively.

Source: National Travel Survey: England 2017 and Table NTS0201

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Q17) How many people aged 70 or over in Great Britain hold a full driving licence?

A17) According to DVLA data there are also now just over five million people aged 70 or more in Great Britain who hold a full licence. While not all of these licence holders will be active drivers, the statistics illustrate the growing number of older people who still use a car.

Source: RAC Foundation analysis of DVLA data.

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Q18) How many jobs require the applicant to be able to drive?

A18) Almost one in five (19 per cent) job adverts say that applicants must be able to drive.

Analysis by the RAC Foundation of a snapshot of the government’s Find a Job database found that of the 182,062 vacancies on offer on the 14 September 2018, 34,067 (19 per cent) stated that having a car or licence was a requirement.

The professions that required applicants to have the ability to drive were as diverse as: carer, professional driver, cleaner, chef, sales consultant, security guard, business development manager, gymnastics coach and electrician.

The RAC Foundation also analysed the vacancies listed on the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s apprenticeship database. This showed that one in twelve (8 per cent) apprenticeships needed the applicant to have a car or licence.

The findings are in line to a similar study carried out by the Foundation back in 2015.

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Q19) How many households in England have access to a car or van?

A19) About 76 per cent.

There have been significant long-term increases in the proportion of households with access to a car or van. The proportion of households without a car has fallen from 48 per cent in 1971 (based on the Census) to 24 per cent in 2017 while the proportion of households with more than one car or van increased over this period, from 8 per cent to 35 per cent.

Since 2000, there have been more households with two or more cars or vans than households with no car or van.

Source: National Travel Survey: England 2017 and Table NTS0205

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Q20) How many adults in England live in a household with access to a car or van?

A20) In 2017, 81 per cent of adults in England lived in a household with a car or van. This differed slightly between men and women (83 per cent and 80 per cent respectively).

Source: National Travel Survey: England 2017 and Table NTS0206

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Q21) Which local authorities in England and Wales have the highest and lowest number of cars and vans per head of population?

A21) Research carried out by the RAC Foundation (based on 2011 Census data) shows that of the 348 English and Welsh local authorities, the East Dorset District Council area has the highest number of cars and vans per head of population.

For every thousand people – men, women and children – living in East Dorset, there are 694 cars. This compares with an average of 487 cars and vans per thousand people as a whole. By contrast, Hackney has the fewest at 170 cars and vans per thousand people.

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Q22) How important is the car as a mode of transport?

A22) The RAC Foundation’s report entitled “The Car in British Society” showed that the dominance of the car as a mode of transport in the early years of the 21st Century is absolute and that policy makers must recognise this fact as they introduce measures to cut traffic and hence ease congestion and fight climate change.

The car continues to dominate most people’s daily travel. In 2017, 61 per cent of trips were made by car, either as a driver or passenger. The car is also the most common mode for distance travelled, accounting for 78 per cent of the total distance travelled in 2017.

Since 2002 there have been fewer car trips (12 per cent less in 2017 than 2002) despite the proportion of households with car access remaining broadly unchanged. Over this period, the average miles travelled by car has also fallen (also by 12 per cent). This is explained largely by the fall in trips, with average trip length by car remaining fairly stable over that period. However, in the years since 2013, car trips made and car miles travelled per person per year have been broadly similar, following the downward trend in the years prior to 2013.

Source: National Travel Survey: England 2017

Car use (both as driver and passenger) accounts for only 8 per cent of the trips under half a mile in length but rises to 76 per cent of all trips in the 2 – 3 mile band and 80 per cent of trips longer than five miles in length; above one mile, more than half of all trips are by car.

Source: The Car in British Society

The Commission for Integrated Transport noted in its “Medium-length Trip Patterns” report that 42 per cent of car mileage was driven on medium-length car trips (defined as 5 – 25 miles).

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Q23) How many people commute to work by car?

A23) There are 26.5 million working people aged 16 – 74 in England and Wales. Of these, 16.7 million people either drive themselves to work (15.3 million) or catch a lift (1.4 million).

In rural areas, nearly three quarters (73.4 per cent) of workers travel by car (whether as driver or passenger). This method of travel also dominates the commute in urban areas (outside of London) with 67.1 per cent of people either driving themselves or catching a lift. Even amongst Londoners, the car is the most popular single mode of travel, used by 29.8 per cent of workers.

The average length of a commuter trip by car/van varies little across English regions and Wales at about ten miles. It is highest in the South East (11.2 miles) and lowest in London (8.6 miles).

Source: The Car and the Commute

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Q24) What is the average annual mileage per car in England?

A24) The estimated average annual mileage per car in England has decreased as the number of cars per household has risen, falling from around 9,200 miles in 2002 to 7,800 miles in 2017.

There are different trends depending on if the car is company or privately owned. Company cars have an annual mileage more than double that of private cars (18,000 compared to 7,500 in 2017).

The estimated average annual mileage was higher for diesel cars than petrol cars, at 10,100 miles and 6,500 miles respectively in 2017.

Source: National Travel Survey: England 2017 and Table NTS0901

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Q25) How many miles per year does motor vehicle traffic travel on the roads of Great Britain?

A25) Motor vehicle traffic was at a record high in 2017 as 327.1 billion miles were driven on Great Britain’s roads, a 1.3 per cent increase from the previous year.

Car traffic grew by 1.1 per cent from 2016 to 254.4 billion vehicle miles (bvm) – the highest annual car traffic estimate ever; van traffic continued to grow more quickly than any other motor vehicle type, rising 2.7 per cent from 2016 to 50.5 bvm; and lorry traffic increased by 1.2 per cent from 2016, continuing a trend of steady growth for the past five years.

Since 1949 motor vehicle traffic has increased more than ten-fold from 28.9 to 327.1 billion vehicle miles, largely driven by steady growth in car traffic. However, traffic growth from year to year has not been constant – over the last twenty years there has been a decline in the rate of traffic growth. Between 2007 and 2010, motor vehicle traffic fell for three consecutive years. This was followed by stability, then a resumption of growth to the 2017 record level of 327.1 billion vehicle miles.

Source: Road Traffic Estimates: Great Britain 2017

Latest provisional estimates show that compared to the year ending September  2017, motor vehicles travelled 327.1 billion miles in Great Britain in the year ending September 2018.

All motor vehicle traffic increased slightly by 0.4 per cent. Car traffic remained broadly stable at 252.5 billion vehicle miles; van traffic increased by 4.3 per cent to 52.2 billion vehicle miles; and lorry traffic by 1.5 per cent to 17.2 billion vehicle miles.

Traffic on minor roads increased by 0.6 per cent and traffic on Motorways and ‘A’ roads remained broadly stable.

Source: Provisional Road Traffic Estimates Great Britain: October 2017 – September 2018

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Q26) What are the road traffic forecasts for future years?

A26) Road Traffic Forecasts 2018 present the latest forecasts for traffic demand, congestion and emissions in England and Wales up to the year 2050. Within these forecasts, seven plausible scenarios have been constructed that reflect the uncertainty in the key drivers of road traffic demand.

Across all scenarios, traffic in England and Wales is forecast to increase but the size of that growth depends on the assumptions made about the key drivers of future road demand. From 2015 traffic is forecast to grow by between 17 per cent and 51 per cent by 2050. The growth in traffic levels is predominately driven by the projected growth in population levels (and thus the number of trips) and decreases in vehicle running costs

Car traffic is forecast to grow between 11 per cent and 43 per cent by 2050, whilst van traffic is forecast to continue growing significantly in all scenarios (between 23 per cent and 108 per cent). HGV traffic growth is forecast to be lower than 7 other vehicle types, with growth ranging from 5 per cent to 12 per cent by 2050.

Congestion is forecast to grow as a result of increases in traffic. The proportion of traffic in congested conditions in 2050 is forecast to range from 8 per cent to 16 per cent depending on the scenario. The average car journey taking 17 minutes in 2015 could increase to 20 minutes in 2050.

The average speed during all periods is forecast to fall from 34mph in 2015 to as low as 31mph. The average delay per vehicle mile during all periods is forecast to increase by up to approximately 11 seconds per mile (69 per cent) by 2050.

Source: Road Traffic Forecasts 2018

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Q27) What improvements are planned to the Strategic Road Network?

A27) The Government’s objectives for the second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) designed to improve the Strategic Road Network can be viewed here.

The Government has also announced plans to double the Strategic Road Network to around 8,000 miles to create a new Major Road Network (MRN) which will include many routes which are under the control of councils. Details can be viewed here.

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Q28) How many miles of road are there in Great Britain?

A28) The total road length in Great Britain in 2017 was estimated to be 246,700 miles, 200 miles greater than 2016.

The length of motorways in Great Britain in 2017 was estimated to be 2,300 miles. “A” roads in Great Britain accounted for 29,200 miles of road in 2016. These major roads make up 12.7 per cent of total road length.

The majority of road lengths in Great Britain is made up of minor roads, with these roads accounting for 215,200 miles in 2017 (18,800 miles of “B” roads and 196,400 miles of “C” and “U” roads). These minor roads make up 87.3 per cent of the total road length.

Source: Road Lengths in Great Britain: 2017

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Q29) What are the road lengths in England, Scotland and Wales?

A29) In 2017, 188,800 miles (76.5 per cent) of the 246,700 miles of road in Great Britain were in England; 36,800 miles (14.9 per cent) were in Scotland; and 21,100 miles (8.5 per cent) were in Wales.

The road networks for Scotland and Wales account for a higher proportion of all road length in Great Britain compared to the population of these countries, which are more sparsely populated.

Within England, the regions with the largest amount of road length were the South West, which had 31,290 thousand miles, and the South East, with 29,937 thousand miles.

Source: Road Lengths in Great Britain: 2017 and Table RDL0101

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Q30) How much of the British road network has no mobile phone coverage?

A30) There are still more than five and a half thousand miles of road in Britain where drivers would find it impossible to call for help in case of a crash or breakdown because there is no mobile phone voice coverage from any network provider.

The stretches of road – measuring 5,540 in total – represent 2 per cent of the length of Britain’s overall road network – which is 245,705 miles long.

According to the RAC Foundation analysis, a further 44,368 miles of road (18 per cent) have only partial voice coverage meaning there are many areas where some but not all phones will receive a signal depending on the service provider they rely on.

Source: Mobile phone coverage across the GB road network

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Q31) What type of roads does traffic travel on?

A31) In 2017, 68.7 billion vehicle miles was carried on motorways; 98.4 billion vehicle miles on rural A roads; 48.1 billion vehicle miles on urban A roads; 45.3 billion vehicle miles on rural minor roads; and 66.6 billion vehicle miles on urban minor roads.

Traffic on motorways reached a new all time high in 2017 and was 9.8 per cent higher than 5 years ago. Traffic on rural roads has increased by 12.8 per cent over the last 5 years and by 3.7 per cent on urban minor roads. However, traffic on urban ‘A’ roads has been fairly steady over the last five years.

Traffic volumes are not proportionate to road lengths. Although motorways and A roads account for only 13 per cent of the road network by length, they carried 66 per cent of all road traffic in 2017. On an average day in 2017, 82 times more vehicles travelled along a typical stretch of motorway than a typical stretch of rural minor road (‘B’ roads, ‘C’ roads, and unclassified roads).

Source: Road Traffic Estimates: Great Britain 2017 and TRA0102

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Q32) What are smart motorways?

A32) Smart motorways use a range of new tech­nol­ogy to vary speed lim­its in response to dri­ving con­di­tions and make the hard shoul­der avail­able to traf­fic. This could be per­ma­nently or at par­tic­u­larly busy times of the day. They are man­aged by the Highways Agency’s regional con­trol cen­tres and use CCTV so that High­ways Agency traf­fic offi­cers can be deployed to inci­dents if they occur and help to keep traf­fic moving.

Further information on smart motorways, and how they should be used, can be viewed here.

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Q33) What type of vehicles use the roads in Great Britain?

A33) Car and taxi traffic accounted for 78 per cent of all traffic in Great Britain in 2017, with light van and heavy goods vehicle traffic accounting for 15 per cent and 5 per cent respectively. Motorcycles/scooters and buses/coaches accounted for 0.8 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively. Pedal cycles accounted for 1 per cent.

Between 2016 and 2017, van traffic showed the fastest growth (in percentage terms) of any motor vehicle, rising by 2.7 per cent to reach a record high of 50.5 billion vehicle miles in 2017. Distance travelled by cars and taxis also increased, by 1.1 per cent. The 254.4 billion car and taxi miles travelled in 2017 was a new high, with the last three annual totals being above the previous peak in 2007 before the financial crisis.

Heavy Goods Vehicle traffic increased by 1.2 per cent, continuing a trend of steady growth for the previous five years. However, the 2017 figure of 17.0 billion vehicle miles remains around 6 per cent below the peak level seen in 2007.

Bus and coach traffic saw the largest decrease of any vehicle type between 2016 and 2017, falling by 3.4 per cent from 2.5 to 2.4 billion vehicle miles, continuing an overall decline seen since 2007.

Motorcycle traffic remained broadly stable.

Source: Road Traffic Estimates: Great Britain 2017 and TRA0101

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Q34) What percentage of HGVs "drive around empty"?

A34) About 28 – 30 per cent of HGVs are “driving around empty” at any one time.

Source: Institution of Mechanical Engineers: UK Freight – In for the Long Haul

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Q35) How busy are the roads in Great Britain?

A35) Motor vehicle flow statistics give an indication of how busy roads in Great Britain are rather than volume of miles travelled on the road network. They are presented as the average number of vehicles per day per mile of road.

Motorways continue to have the highest average traffic flow in 2017 with 82.1 thousand vehicles for each mile of motorway per day. The average traffic flow on urban “A” roads was 19.2 thousand vehicles for each mile of urban “A” road per day and traffic flows on rural “A” roads were 12.1 thousand vehicles for each mile of rural “A” road per day.

The average traffic flow on urban minor roads was 2.1 thousand vehicles for each mile of urban minor roads per day and traffic flows on rural minor roads were 1.0 thousand vehicles for each mile of rural minor road per day.

Source: Road Traffic Estimates: Great Britain 2017 and TRA0301

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Q36) Which road has the highest average traffic flow?

A36) The western half of the M25, between Junctions 14 and 15, had the highest average traffic flow in 2017 with 211,000 vehicles per day.

Source: Road Traffic Estimates: Great Britain 2017

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Q37) Which local authorities have the highest traffic levels?

A37) The local authority with the highest traffic level is Hampshire with 9.87 billion vehicle miles. Hampshire is followed by Essex (9.68 billion vehicle miles) and Kent (9.52 billion vehicle miles).

Source: Road Traffic Estimates: Great Britain 2017 and TRA8901

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Q38) Which of England's major A roads have the highest seasonal increase in traffic?

A38) The A458 heading towards Snowdonia sees the biggest seasonal increase in traffic on England’s major A roads. During the summer it carries almost a quarter (23.1 per cent) more vehicles than during the rest of the year.

After the A458, comes the A30 in the West Country (19.2 per cent increase) and the A2070 in Kent heading towards the coast and Camber Sands (16.1 per cent). The road with the fourth biggest increase is the A494 just north of Chester which runs into North Wales (15 per cent) and fifth is the A31 through the New Forest (13.1 per cent).

Full details can be viewed here.

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Q39) What are average vehicle speeds?

A39) In 2017, the average free flow speed of cars was 69 mph on motorways and 50 mph on national speed limit single carriageways. Vans were observed to have identical average free flow speeds to cars on these road types, also with values of 69 mph and 50 mph respectively.

Cars and vans also had an average free flow speed of 31 mph on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph. For all vehicle types on 20 mph roads, the average free flow speed was above the speed limit in 2017, with the highest being motorcycles at 27 mph.

Source: Vehicle Speed Compliance Statistics: Great Britain 2017

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Q40) How many foreign registered vehicles use the roads in Great Britain?

A40) In 2017, 0.4 per cent of all traffic on British roads was estimated to be accounted for by foreign registered vehicles. HGV traffic has the highest proportion of foreign registered vehicles. In 2017, 4.5 per cent of HGV traffic was estimated to be foreign registered, a slight decrease of 0.3 percentage points compared to 2015. (Figures are not available for 2016).

Source: Road Traffic Estimates: Great Britain 2017

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Q41) Who manages the roads?

A41) Highways England is a government-owned company responsible for the operation, maintenance and improvement of England’s motorways and major A roads. This is the strategic network of roads used to move people and freight around the country.

A map of the Highways England network can be found here.

In Scotland a similar responsibility falls on Transport Scotland, and in Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government.

Other roads are managed by local authorities.

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Q42) What is the total amount of compensation paid by local authorities for damage to persons or vehicles as a result of poor road conditions?

A42) The total amount paid out in compensation by local authorities in England and Wales in 2018/19 for damage to persons or vehicles as a result of poor road condition was £6.9 million. The associated staff costs spent processing claims totalled £19.8 million.

The total estimated cost for road user compensation claims was therefore £26.7 million.

Source: The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey 2019

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Q43) How many potholes were filled in over the last year and what was the cost of filling these potholes in?

A43) After four years of decline, the total number of potholes filled in the last year jumped by 24 per cent, from 1.5 million in 2017/18, to more than 1.86 million in 2018/19, the equivalent of one pothole being repaired every 17 seconds in England and Wales.

The total cost of filling in these potholes was estimated at £97.8 million, up from the £94.9 million reported in the previous year, despite the cost of filling in a pothole reducing.

Source: The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey 2019

The Pothole Action Fund was announced in  Budget 2015 and totals £296 million, enough to repair on average over 5 million potholes or to stop them forming in the first place. This funding is allocated by formula shared by local highway authorities in England, outside London, between 2016/17 and 2021.

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Q44) How can I report a pothole to a local authority?

A44) If you want to report a pothole you can go straight to the authority responsible for the road (most now have an electronic or web-based system available to the public to report potholes and highway faults).

Alternatively, you can report potholes through the following sites:- www.fillthathole.org.uk or www.fixmystreet.com

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Q45) What percentage of local authority roads are considered to be in a poor structural condition?

A45) 21 per cent of roads in England (excluding London), 26 per cent of roads in London and 12 per cent of roads in Wales are reported as being in poor structural condition.

Even if adequate funding and resources were in place to get roads back into a reasonable condition, it is estimated that to clear the carriageway maintenance backlog will take 10 years in England (excluding London), 9 years in London and 8 years in Wales.

Local authorities’ estimate the one-time “catch-up” cost to bring their road networks upto scratch has grown by approximately 5 per cent to £9.79 billion from the £9.31 billion reported last year. This is an average of £69.9 million per authority in England; £31.9 million in London and £36.3 million in Wales.

Source: The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey 2019 

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Q46) How many bridges in Great Britain are substandard?

A46) Data collected from 200 of the 207 local highway authorities in England, Scotland and Wales and analysed by the RAC Foundation shows that 3,177 structures over 1.5m in span are not fit to carry the heaviest vehicles now seen on our roads, including lorries of up to 44 tonnes. These bridges represent 4.4 per cent (about 1 in 22) of the roughly 74,000 bridges to be found on the local road network.

The proportion (4.4 per cent) of substandard bridges is in line with that reported in 2016-17 (4.6 per cent – 3,441 out of 74,005 bridges – based on data from 204 local authorities).

Some of the bridges will be substandard because they were built to earlier design standards, whilst others will have deteriorated through age and use. Many of these bridges have weight restrictions. Others will be under programmes of increased monitoring or even managed decline.

Between them, councils say they would ideally want to bring 2,026 (64 per cent) of the 3,177 substandard bridges back up to full carrying capacity. However, budget restrictions mean they anticipate that only 343 of these will have the necessary work carried out on them within the next five years. The one-off cost of clearing the total maintenance backlog is estimated as £6.7 billion.

Source: RAC Foundation

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Q47) What is the Blue Badge Scheme?

A47) The Blue Badge Scheme is designed to assist people with severe mobility problems, registered blind people and people who drive a motor vehicle regularly and have a severe disability in both arms, making it very difficult or impossible to operate parking meters, to park close to where they need to go. An information leaflet about the Scheme can be viewed here.

The Government announced in July 2018 that eligibility for a Blue Badge is to be extended to include people with hidden disabilities, including autism and mental health conditions.

The new criteria will extend eligibility to people who:

  • cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)
  • cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress
  • have very considerable difficulty when walking (both the physical act and experience of walking)

Full details can be viewed here.

You can apply for, or re-new, a Blue Badge here.

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Q48) How many Blue Badges are on issue in England?

A48) There were 2.35 million valid Blue Badges on issue at 31 March 2018, a decrease of 1.2 per cent (28,000 badges) when compared with the previous year. This decrease continues the declining trend in the number of badges held since 2012, with the exception of a small increase in 2017.

On 31 March 2018, 4.2 per cent of the population in England held a valid Blue Badge, similar to the previous year. In 2010, the proportion was 5 per cent.

Source: Blue Badge Scheme Statistics, England: 2018

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Q49) How many Blue Badges were stolen in England in 2017/18?

A49) Figures compiled by the Department for Transport show that 4,246 Blue Badges were reported stolen in England during 2017/18, a rise of 45 per cent on the year before when 2,921 badges were stolen.

This increase also marks a rise in thefts for the fifth year running with 656 badges recorded stolen in 2013. It means that this year’s figures are more than six times higher than they were five years ago.

Source: Blue Badge Scheme Statistics, England: 2018

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